Go "Behind the Curtain" with Monica Bill Barnes

From left: Bass, Glass and Barnes. Photo by Adrianne Mathiowetz, Courtesy Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host.

Monica Bill Barnes, Anna Bass and Ira Glass. While one of these is not like the other, the uncanny combination has made the touring show Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host a runaway success. It's the subject of the latest episode of Dance Magazine's web series "Behind the Curtain," which follows choreographer and performer Barnes to Durham, North Carolina, where she, Bass and Glass were mounting their show. Be a fly on the wall as she tests out set pieces in tech rehearsal, warms up backstage and mingles at a post-show reception (fireworks included).

Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host is a feast for the eyes—full of sequins and balloons—and the episode gives viewers a peek at many of its dance numbers. Even more interesting, though, is seeing Glass, host of "This American Life," navigate and understand Barnes' creative process, as well as what it takes to be a dancer. During one moment at the theater, he remarks on how many hours a day Barnes and Bass spend dancing between rehearsals and shows. How do they do it? "That's because you're not human," he says.

The show starts with Glass suggesting talking as a way to open. (Of course, the show has already begun.) Barnes disagrees, saying that movement would be a stronger choice. But, contests Glass, talking can plant an idea in the audience's heads to help set up the show. Not missing a beat, Barnes fires back: "I think the idea is movement."

Catch her in action here.

 

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Photo by Ernest Gregory, Courtesy Fleming

How This Tap-Dancer-Turned-Composer Stays True to His Jazz Roots

From Riverdance to HBO's "Boardwalk Empire," tap dancer DeWitt Fleming Jr. has proved to be a triple threat on the stage and screen. He's also an entrepreneur, selling his own line of wireless microphones, DeW It Right Tap Mics. Last year, he added "composer" to his resumé with the release of Sax and Taps INTERSPLOSION!, the first tap dance and jazz album recorded at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Dizzy's Club. One of the songs, co-written with jazz saxophonist Erica von Kleist, was a finalist for last year's Unsigned Only music competition.

"When you're invited to dance with a jazz band, it's always assumed that, as a tap dancer, you're going to be a feature. If you go all the way back to New Orleans' Congo Square, and even before then, dance was a part of the music. I wanted to stick to those roots and create an album where everything was intertwined."

He recently spoke with Dance Magazine about his collaboration with von Kleist and the creation of their album.

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January 2021